The baseball team came into its four-game series with Harvard this weekend on the heels of a terrible showing against Penn and Columbia, but the Bears (8-20, 4-8 Ivy) rebounded nicely, splitting two doubleheaders with the Crimson (16-15, 5-7) on Alumni Weekend.
Eddie Fitzpatrick ’15 made the start in the first game Saturday, giving up six earned runs in six innings of work while striking out seven. Other than the top of the first, Fitzpatrick never pitched from behind, as a two-run first inning and a six-run second inning for the Bears gave the senior a comfortable cushion.
Robert Henry ’17, Will Marcal ’15 and Noah Shulman ’16 all homered in the bottom half of the second inning, resulting in the removal of Crimson starter Nick Greuner. Harvard gradually pulled close to the Bears in the final three innings of the seven-inning game, but Dante Bosnic ’18 pitched the final frame for the Bears to secure the 9-6 win.
The second game was one the Bears would like to forget, as Harvard batters exploded for an incredible 21 runs on 23 hits. Starter Taylor Wright ’15 gave up four runs in four innings of work, but the bulk of the Harvard offense came off of the Bears’ struggling bullpen. A seven-run fifth inning for the Crimson was answered by a six-run sixth for the Bears, but Bruno was never within three runs after the fourth. Marcal had another good game for the Bears, tallying two RBIs on three hits in the blowout.
Part of the problem was on the defensive side of the ball, as the Bears were charged with five errors. Brown ended up with 12 total for the weekend, while Harvard only committed three.
“Some of it is just the field,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles. “But for the most part, it’s just guys trusting themselves in certain situations and then making the play.”
Both offenses settled down in the third game of the weekend, as a change in the wind direction may have had an adverse effect on overall offensive production. Dave St. Lawrence ’15, who had been used as the closer for the last couple of weeks, only lasted an inning and a third after giving up three earned runs and four walks. Chris Smith ’15 came in and settled the Harvard batters down, but the Bears were unable to come up with anything offensively before falling 3-2.
“We got a couple of good outings from guys that had to keep us in games when our offense was struggling to score runs,” Achilles said. The pitchers performed better when the defense did not commit errors because it prevented them from facing so many batters and tiring out, he said.
Surprisingly, Achilles chose to start Austin French ’16 instead of usual starter Reid Anderson ’18 in the final game against the Crimson. The gamble paid off, and a single each from Dan Kerr ’15 and Shulman resulted in a three-run third inning that gave Brown a lead it would not relinquish.
“The hitters have been doing a good job. We had a good week of work to iron out some kinks,” Achilles said. “We started to see the type of offense that we’re capable of putting out.”
French went five innings before handing the ball off to Anderson, who pitched the final four innings of the game. Shulman hit his second home run of the weekend to give the first-year a necessary cushion. The Crimson’s Ethan Ferreira hit a home run in the top of the ninth to cut the Brown lead to one before Anderson shut the door, giving Brown the 8-7 win and the split with the Crimson.
“Any time you can split against a quality opponent, that’s good,” Achilles said. “We would’ve liked to have three or four, obviously, but finding a way to win games without playing our best baseball is pretty key, and it helped us stay in the hunt for a division championship.”